West side resident creates initiative to make a local park safer for children

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo’s West side park sits on Massachusetts Avenue and during the summertime you can find the park filled with young children playing sports and jumping on the playground.

Residents told News 4 there’s been a string of criminal activities, saying there’s a lot of drug dealing and prostitution that goes on in the park. In April, a man dressed in all black opened fire on the basketball court, striking two men.

Now, residents are hoping to take back the park. one blanket at a time. They want to show children that there’s another way to live instead of falling into the cracks of criminal activity.

Stephanie Adams, a resident on the West side, started the initiative, “Blanket the Park.”

“Kids are always in the park and when I look around and see kids of all ages and ethnicity playing, usually in harmony, it’s time to get adults into the mix too and just show them that most of the adults on the West side are law abiding and they love their city and they love their neighbors,” said Adams.

She said all you have to do is show up with a blanket and spend an hour of your time watching over the park. Many participants even bring activities to do with the children and other adults.

“I feel like they’re trying to get involved and help out around this neighborhood because, it’s not the best one, but it’s like getting better and people just want to pitch in and help make this park a better place for kids,” said Miguel Medina, young resident on the West side.

Adams said a councilman and the District Attorney’s Office have both shown their support for the initiative.

The peak times to take part in this are on weekdays from 5 to 8 p.m. or on weekends after 2 p.m.

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